UK: Celebrity Influence on Teenage Alcohol Use
A new study reports alcohol marketing, specifically celebrity endorsements of alcohol consumption, puts British teenagers at a higher risk of using alcohol.
The study published in the online journal BMJ Open examined the link between alcohol marketing and alcohol consumption patterns in a sample of 3300 British teenagers aged 11 to 19. According to the researchers the alcohol industry uses the 360 degree marketing strategy, increasing youth exposure to alcohol marketing. This includes traditional media such as TV and billboards as well as social media and internet feeds.
System of exploitation!@VancityReynolds & Beckham don’t need💰from #alcohol promotions.
But (vulnerable) kids,youth,adults need environments that promote health & social justice. We need societies where economic operators pay 4 ALL harm their products cause #BigAlcoholExposed https://t.co/GGFQ2KcaQ0
— IOGT International (@IOGTInt) March 22, 2019
Several key findings of the study:
- Awareness of alcohol marketing among teenagers is linked to increased alcohol consumption.
- Most common sources of marketing awareness were TV adverts, celebrity endorsements and special offers.
- 38% of teens reported they saw ‘celebrity endorsements’ at least once a week, 11% three or four times a week, and 5% saw them every day.
- For teens who have never used alcohol, ownership of branded alcohol merchandise is linked with intentions to try alcohol in the future.
- On average, teenagers saw famous people with alcohol in films, music videos, on TV or pictured in magazines six times in the last month.
- Alcohol sponsorship of sports was seen on average twice a month with TV adverts seen six times a month.
Alcohol Use in UK
In the UK, heavy episodic alcohol use is prevalent in more than half (52.4%) of the youth population aged between 15 – 19 years. Males in the UK suffer from alcohol use disorders more compared with other countries in the WHO European region.
In this view alcohol marketing and celebrity endorsements glamorizing alcohol use pose a threat to the health and well-being of the UK public and especially the youth.
Further scrutiny and examination of the UK’s self-regulatory approach and viable alternatives are needed to identify feasible, appropriate and effective means of reducing alcohol marketing exposure in young people,” said Dr Nathan Critchlow, of the Institute for Social Marketing at the University of Stirling in Scotland as per the Daily Mail.
As the 2018 WHO country profile shows, the United Kingdom has no legally binding alcohol advertising and sponsorships regulations. But regulating alcohol promotions, advertising and sponsorship is one of the three most cost-effective, high-impact and scientifically well-proven measures to prevent and reduce alcohol harm.
Options for actions for the UK government are thus available to better protect children and youth from the alcohol industry.